Cafeteria Culture

* Fiscal Sponsor: Fund for the City of New York
121 Avenue of the Americas, 6th floor 6th floor
New York, NY 10013-1590
[email protected]


Cafeteria Culture (CafCu) is working cretaively to achieve zero waste school cafeterias and climate smart communities through education, arts, media and action. (

* All donations made to Cafeteria Culture are processed by their fiscal sponsor, Fund for the City of New York.

Now, more than ever, Cafeteria Culture needs your support! 

  • IMPACT  - Founded in 2009 as Styrofoam Out of Schools (SOSnyc), Cafeteria Culture catalyzed the decision to completely eliminate 860,000 polystyrene (styrofoam) trays used per day in New York City schools. This sparked a 6-city agreement for collectively purchasing compostable plates, driving down the cost of alternatives. As of September 2015, 1/2 a BILLION toxic and polluting styrofoam trays per year are replaced with compostable plates in the 6 largest U.S. urban school districts. In collaboration with our school partners, CafCu also played a major grassroots role in ensuring the NYC Council unanimous vote to ban styrofoam citywide.
  • ZERO WASTE SCHOOLS - Since 2012, Cafeteria Culture has taught the unique, award winning Cafeteria Ranger program to over 6,000 K-12 students from 14 NYC schools, located primarily in low income communities of color.  The parallel “ARTS+ACTION Zero Waste Schools” program has been key to the program's success. By teaching the "why" before the "how,” students gain knowledge along with hands-on leadership roles in their cafeterias, schools and communities.

  • YOUTH MEDIA and ACTION -TEACHING 21st CENTURY LEARNING SKILLS - Cafeteria Culture empowers students with cameras and skills to think critically about real world environmental problems and to instigate their own Zero Waste solutions for their schools and communities. Students take active roles as school and community leaders and as citizen scientists, driving forward creative solutions that are influencing positive behavioral change and policy change.

  • TEACHING CIVIC ENGAGEMENT - Cafeteria Culture's students have spoken at New York City Hall, have shared valuable information at with their New York City Concilmembers, have been invited by the US State Department to present to delegates from China, and have presented their unique urban youth-POV Trash Free Waters videos to US Environmental Protection Agency Region 2 staff and government officials.

  • SCALING UP - - Cafeteria Culture recently released the multimedia SORT2SAVE KIT, a free resource for NYC and schools across the US and Canada to work towards achieiving zero waste with a student-led Cafeteria Ranger Program and Environmental STEM curricula.

  • AWARD WINNING STEM EDUCATION -  Cafeteria Culture is the proud recipient of a 2015 UL Innovative Education Award for advancing Environmental STEM education and a 2013 Environmental Quality Award from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

  • CUTTING EDGE - Cafeteria Culture is continuously piloting innovate interdisciplinary environmental curricula, working in partnershio with underserved public school communities to provide real world opportunities for students to become experts on complex issues and then to share their unique point of view through media and creative messaging with community, government, and the entire world.


* All donations made to Cafeteria Culture will be sent to their fiscal sponsor Fund for the City of New York.